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Good Question: How many people die from carbon monoxide poisoning each year?

The story of a couple being rushed to the hospital Tuesday reminds all of us of the danger of carbon monoxide and how how quickly it can make us sick.

While Tuesday's outcome wasn't tragic, it certainly could have been.

Good Question: How many people die from carbon monoxide poisoning each year?

The scene that played out Tuesday morning on Weber Way in Lexington is a reminder, fire officials say of why everyone needs a carbon monoxide detector.

"Just about every home has a smoke detector, but you can see smoke and you can smell smoke. Carbon monoxide you can't see it, you can't smell it and its just as deadly. And yet, far fewer homes are properly protected from carbon monoxide," said Battalion Chief Marshall Griggs.

While this incident involved a car left accidentally running, Battalion Chief Griggs says this time of year the cases of carbon monoxide poisoning go up, simply because of heating sources in the home.

"Basically carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is produced when something burns incompletely, so a wood burning stove, any gas powered equipment in your home, a generator," said Griggs.

Deaths do happen.

On average the Consumer Product Safety Commission says 170 people die each year from poisoning.

Their latest numbers from 2007 show 183 people died, 64 of those deaths were attributed to generators running in the home.

Detection is key.

Firefighter medics responding to calls in Lexington are now equipped with smaller carbon monoxide detectors on their first aid bags.

The detectors are life saving when entering a home unaware that carbon monoxide could be present.

Just this month its paid off.

"Upon their arrival they began to treat the patient, the first firefighter medic that came in with his first aid kit, his alarm immediately went into alert," said Griggs.

That alert, prevented an even worse outcome.

Right now there are ten of those carbon monoxide monitors in operation, they cost about $100 a piece.


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